We used frequency domain measurements of fluorescence resonance energy transfer to recover the distribution of distances between Met 25 and Cys 98 in rabbit skeletal troponin C. These residues were labeled with dansylaziridine as energy donor and 5-(iodoacetamido)eosin as acceptor and are located on the N- and C-terminal lobes of the two-domain protein, respectively. We developed a procedure to correct for the fraction of the sample that was incompletely labeled with the acceptor independent of chemical data. At pH 7.5 and in the presence of Mg2+, the mean distance was near 15 Å with a half-width of the distribution of 15 Å; when Mg2+ was replaced by Ca2+, the mean distance increased to 22 Å with a decrease in the half-width by 4 Å. Similar but less pronounced differences in the mean distance and half-width between samples containing Mg2+ and Ca2+ were also observed with troponin C complexed to troponin I. The results suggest that the conformation of troponin C is altered by Ca2+ binding to the Ca2+-specific sites and displacing bound Mg2+ at the Ca2+/Mg2+ sites. This alteration may play an important role in Ca2+ signaling in muscle. At pH 7.5, the anisotropy decays of the donor-labeled troponin C showed two components, with the long rotational correlation time (12 ns) reflecting the overall motion of the protein. When the pH was lowered from 7.5 to 5.2, the mean distribution distance of apotroponin C increased from 22 to 32 Å and the half-width decreased by a factor of 2 from 13 to 7 Å. The long correlation time of apotroponin C increased to 19 ns at the acidic pH. These results are discussed in terms of a model in which skeletal troponin C is a dimer at low pH and enable comparison of the solution conformation of the protein at neutral pH with a crystal structure obtained at pH 5.2. While the conformation of the monomeric unit of troponin C dimer at pH 5.2 is extended and consistent with the crystal structure, the conformation at neutral pH is likely more compact than the crystal structure predicts.